Put these FREE and cheap events on your calendar for the last two weeks of January and save your money for the next holiday.
Our list includes the annual Broadway Week two-for-one ticket deal for top shows, Restaurant Week meal deals at nearly 400 participating restaurants, FREE film festivals, FREE concerts, FREE lectures and more.
Some FREE events require registration to ensure space, so do that now for guaranteed admission and avoid standing in the cold for standby admission.
FREE and cheap family-friendly events
Jan. 24 to mid-Febrauary
These events are FREE:
34th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK Now at Riverside Church
Storytelling and Music Celebration at Grace Reformed Church of Flatbush
See our What to Do this Weekend posting for additional MLK events, including ticketed events at NYC museums.
To make sure NYC communities are best supported by the 2020 Census, the NY Public Library is hosting a series of town hall events inviting community partners and civic-minded patrons to learn about the process, ask questions and share concerns.
There also are events to educate New Yorkers on how to get a paying job with the Census powers-that-be, to make sure all of us New Yorkers are counted.
You can apply if you are (or will be) at least 18 years of age at the time of the Census; have work authorization, including a valid Social Security number; are registered with the Selective Service System or have a qualifying exemption (if you are male and were born after Dec. 31, 1959); and have a valid e-mail address.
Compensation ranges from $20-27.50/hr in NYC.
The Census helps determine how much money New York State and New York City get from the federal government for programs such as SNAP, better known as Food Stamps, and even how many seats New York City gets in Congress. So it is extremely important for all New Yorkers to be counted, no matter what their immigration status is.
These three events are in Manhattan. NYPL is planning more in other NYC boroughs.
Thursday, January 23, 2:30 – 6:30 p.m., Read More
Broadway Week is really three weeks, Jan. 21 to Feb. 9, when tickets to top shows are two-for-one.
Participating shows include:
The Book of Mormon, which is participating for the first time.
The Lion King
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
To Kill a Mockingbird
West Side Story
Broadway Week 2-for-one tickets are twice a year – in Jan./Feb. and Aug./Sept.
Reminder to get FREE tickets now for
Overlapping with Broadway Week two-for-one tickets, Restaurant Week is when nearly 400 top NYC restaurants serve specially priced three-course meals $26 at lunch and $42 at dinner, the same price as last year.
This is your chance to splurge on a gourmet meal in such top-rated locally owned restaurants as the Russian Tea Room and Nougatine at Jean-Georges.
There are participating restaurants in all five boroughs, and you can search by location or type of food.
NYC Restaurant Week is currently in its 28th year.
It began nearly 30 years ago as a way to drum up business in the dead days after Christmas, after NYC tourists went home and NYC residents stayed home, and the idea has expanded to hundreds of cities around the globe, from Albuquerque to Zagreb.
See Also – Restaurant Week deals in Lower Manhattan
This new show at the Hayden Planetarium is the first to use a new planetarium projection system that is the most advanced in the world.
It opens on Tuesday, Jan 21.
While humans have to yet to walk on another world beyond the Moon, Worlds Beyond Earth celebrates the extraordinary Age of Exploration carried out by our closest proxies, robotic explorers, over the past 50 years.
Featuring immersive visualizations of distant worlds, groundbreaking space missions, and breathtaking scenes depicting the evolution of our solar system, the show is part of the 150th anniversary celebration year of events at the American Museum of Natural History.
This is the first space show that will “land” audience members on other worlds in our solar neighborhood, reconstructing actual events at specific locations. That includes-
- a landing on the gray, cratered surface of the Moon, which viewers will reach by following an Apollo launch out of Cape Canaveral,
- the subsequent landing of the Lunar Module “Falcon,” carrying the first Lunar Roving Vehicle;
- and the liquid methane lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan, an almost Earthlike but extremely cold world 1.4 billion kilometers away, illuminated by ESA’s Huygens probe, launched from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
Worlds Beyond Earth, narrated by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, takes viewers on an exhilarating journey that reveals the surprisingly dynamic nature of the worlds that orbit our Sun and the unique conditions that make life on our planet possible.
Simply, the show is out of this world!
- Hayden Planetarium is at AMNH, Central Park West between 77th and 81st Streets.
- Get tickets online and save time.
Attend this FREE Lincoln Center concert by a quartet which plays by a play tropical rhythms from Colombia infused with psychedelic soundscapes.
Los Cumpleaños seamlessly transforms heavy grooves and experimental sounds into an energetic, danceable, one-of-a-kind musical experience.
Members of Los Cumpleaños have played with a variety of notable artists, including Aníbal Velásquez, Lisandro Meza, Porfi Baloa y sus Adolescentes, Juan Piña, Alfredo Gutiérrez, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, Orquesta Dee Jay, Beyoncé, Joan as Police Woman, People’s Champs, and The Superpowers.
The musicians are:
- Virtuoso percussionist/vocalist Nestor Gomez from Barranquilla, Colombia;
- Lautaro Burgos from Chaco, Argentina on drum set;
- Eric Lane on keyboard; and
- Alex Asher on trombone from the U.S.
The concert is 7:30pm Thursday, Jan 23 at the David Rubenstein Atrium in Lincoln Center
- There are no reservations and seating is first come first served.
Return to the past at this acclaimed series of iconic silent films accompanied by live music, FREE in Lower Manhattan.
Themes including immigration, and income and gender inequality are timeless, and so is the popularity of such early movie stars as Charlie Chaplin.
Silent Films/Live Music series is curated by WNYC’s John Schaefer.
As many as three short films are shown each night, over three nights, Wed. Jan. 22 to Fri., Jan. 24, at the Winter Garden glass atrium in Brookfield Place.
The series kicks off with the world premiere of Alice Guy-Blaché’s The Consequences of Feminism accompanied by the sounds of the Brooklyn-based bassist Alexis Cuadrado.
Fill your bucket list with half-price tickets to the annual New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Convention Center.
Travel the world, right in Manhattan.
There are more than 700 exhibitors from 170 countries and regions, from Africa to Antarctica, dozens of seminars with top travel experts and food experts, including with New York Times journalists, one-on-one expert advice, special getaway deals, and book signings by top travel guidebook authors.
Plus, there are cultural performances, taste samplings, an Adrenalin Zone for the kids and the chance to win free vacations.
The 2020 New York Times Travel Show is Saturday/Sunday, January 25/26 at the Javits Convention Center.
Get half-price tickets for $10 to $15, instead of the walk-up $20-$25 price
Use the money you save for your next vacation.
Thunderbird American Indian Dancers
These Native American dancers, musicians and storytellers return to the Lower East Side for their annual concert, with two weekends of performances.
The group is made up of members of various tribes who live right here in New York City, who share their dance and song traditions.
The performances include traditional music, dance and storytelling of the Iroquois, Pueblo, Alaskan and Great Plains Native American peoples, by the Thunderbirds, who are dressed in the authentic clothing styles of their peoples.
The performances are Friday-Sunday, Jan. 24-26 and again Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.
Matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays are specially tailored for children, and everybody is invited onstage after the performance to join the dancing.
I’ve enjoyed the Thunderbirds several times. My personal favorite is the Hoop Dance by one of the Thunderbird members, pictured here.
Tickets are just $15, and children are just $1 with a paying adult.
- Theater for a New City is 155 First Ave., between 9th and 10th Streets
- Additional information and purchase tickets online here.
Work up a sweat on The Rink at Bryant Park with an on-ice circuit workout. Expect exercises used by figure and hockey skaters that will make you a better skater.
Classes are Thursday mornings in January, starting promptly at 8am.
We recommend that you arrive 10 minutes early to check-in, put on your skates, and stow your belongings in a locker. You may bring your own skates and lock; skate rental is $23 per person and locks are $12.Showers and towels are not provided.
This class is recommended for competent skaters.
- FREE, in Bryant Park, 8am, Thursdays in January
In NYC and elsewhere, including San Antonio, Savannah and\ Providence, women have been in the forefront of historic preservation, fighting highways, securing landmark status or leading other civic battles that have saved and restored our cities.
Join Roberta Brandes Gratz, an award-winning journalist and urban critic, who founded the effort to restore the Museum at Eldridge Street’s historic home, as she leads a conversation with leaders of world of civic action and preservation.
This powerhouse panel includes
- Claudette Brady, co-founder of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation;
- Anne Van Ingen, Chairman of the Board for the Preservation League of New York and Advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and
- Lloyd Zuckerberg, a partner in Samson Investments who manages real estate holdings and former chair of the board of New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Together they explore the powerful and central role that women have played in many of our city’s historic and cultural preservation projects.
This forum is cosponsored by the Center for the Living City.
- 7pm to 9pm, Monday, January 27 at the Museum at Eldridge Street
- Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students.
This FREE discussion probes the ongoing debate about the nature of Jewish migration.
Were these movements distinctively driven by a continual history of persecution and violence, embodied in the image of the wandering Jew? Or did they substantially resemble the migrations of other ethnic groups? These questions provide an intriguing perspective on the origins of refugee and migration studies and the rise of the ethnic paradigm in American Jewish history.
The discussion is based on two books published in 1948 by Jewish émigré scholars in New York, both of whom had escaped Nazi persecution at a great personal cost, to explore the ongoing debate about the nature of Jewish migration.
Presented by the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University, in partnership with Barnard College’s Forum On Migration.
- 6pm, Thursday, Jan 30
- FREE but tickets are required to manage space
- New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium
Central Park Winter Jam
Okay, this is happening on Feb. 1st, but we’re including it here anyway.
Winter Jam in Central Park is a FREE annual winter sports event to iopen to all ages. It will be happening on Saturday, February 1st from 11am to 3pm at Rumsey Playfield by the entrance at 72nd and Fifth Avenue.
- Saturday, February 1st from 11am to 3pm at Rumsey Playfield by the entrance at 72nd and Fifth Avenue.
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Evelyn Kanter also is the author of several NYC and Hudson Valley guidebooks, including my latest, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die.